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The Nature Conservancy Helps Grow Future Conservationists through their Summer Internships in Connecticut and Across the United States

Interns will train for green jobs and enhance education by trailblazing, restoring shellfish, monitoring wildlife and removing invasive species.

NEW HAVEN, CT | July 07, 2014

The Nature Conservancy today announced that students from its Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) Program are heading out for a great summer adventure to nature preserves in 27 states, including Connecticut. Students, many of whom have never spent time out of their city, let alone one-on-one with worms and toads, will participate in a paid internship program from July 7 through Aug. 1.

During the course of their internship, they will train for green jobs and enhance their classroom education by participating in conservation activities like trailblazing, shellfish restoration, wildlife monitoring and the removal of invasive species.

This year, 10 interns from Connecticut are participating. Five are students at Common Ground High School in New Haven; five are students at The Sound School, also in New Haven. Four of the interns will work with the Conservancy in Connecticut, while the remainder will work with Conservancy programs in Illinois and North Dakota.

This is the 20th year of the LEAF Program, whose mission is to engage urban youth in conservation activities now so that they will become stewards for our planet tomorrow. In its 20 year history, LEAF has expanded from one to 27 states and over 700 interns have participated in the program. LEAF provides paid jobs for students on nature preserves around the country and enriches these experiences in the classroom by providing professional development opportunities to educators from green partner high schools.

This is the Connecticut Program’s fourth year hosting LEAF interns. In Connecticut, the interns will spend time working at sites including Devil’s Den Preserve in Weston, Sunny Valley Preserve in New Milford and Griswold Point in Old Lyme.

“Through LEAF, we’re committed to cultivating a new generation of conservation leaders by helping young people explore new career ideas and by building their conservation knowledge, self-confidence and work skills,” said Frogard Ryan, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. “It’s meaningful and gratifying work for the Conservancy, and we strive to make sure it’s the same for the fantastic young people who commit their time and energy to the LEAF program.”

This comprehensive, environmental leadership program for teenagers and their educators serves students attending environmentally-themed high schools in urban areas including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Georgia, Colorado, Rhode Island, California, Washington, Illinois, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. The continued expansion of the LEAF program nationwide is due to leading support from the Toyota USA Foundation.

“The main goal of the LEAF program is to expose urban youth to nature and conservation careers at a young age to nurture a passion for the environment which will stick with them both personally and professionally for the rest of their lives,” said Brigitte Griswold, Director of Youth Programs for The Nature Conservancy. “Providing students with the opportunity to participate in actual conservation projects on preserves is a great complement to their environmental classroom learning and gives them hands-on experience they may not otherwise get during the school year.”

Learn more about the students that LEAF serves, the Toyota USA Foundation and about this unique partnership model at

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

Contact information

James Miller
Senior Media Relations Manager
The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut

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